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Man and His Culture


Published 1954


Shows, in the imaginative form of a "report from outer space," how the ways of mankind might appear to visitors from another planet.


Run time 14:10
Producer Encyclopaedia Britannica Films
Sponsor N/A
Audio/Visual Sd, B&W

Shotlist

Shows, in the imaginative form of a 'REPORT FROM OUTER SPACE,' how the ways of mankind might appear to visitors from another planet. Considers the things most cultures have in common and the ways they change as they pass from one generation to the next.



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Reviews

Reviewer: explainer - - April 11, 2011
Subject: About Robert Redfield
I don't know how much involvement he had in this film, but the opening titles include, "in collaboration with Robert Redfield, PhD, The University of Chicago." I looked him up and thought others might find this useful.
http://www.lib.uchicago.edu/projects/centcat/centcats/fac/facch24_01.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Redfield
Reviewer: Karma Hawk - - April 2, 2005
Subject: People of Earth
This film attempts to teach people about various cultures by using the motif of an alien broadcast. While this premise sounds cool, it is one that the Encyclapedia Britanica folks, don't exacltly know how to aproach, while at time thier is some good and genuine "alien observations" (IE: Refering to ties as "decorations men wear on thir necks" and refering to automobiles as runing on "fire") a lot of times they seem to forget the whole premise of this peace (these alien-like observations are few and far between) what we're left with is a basic educational film about culture that is pretty basic, but hints at something more. The film is also a tad bit racsict too (it refers to countries less techalogicly advanced as the United States as "primative") Overall it's your basic educational film that only hints at what it could of been.
Reviewer: Spuzz - - November 2, 2003
Subject: We are The World
Not bad overview of The Many Different Cultures That Inhabit The Earth. As told by 'aliens', the film shows some nice differences between Us and Them, (North America vs everyone else basically). Also a nice comment on social moors of the time, espcially having kids out of wedlock (causing of course serious repurcussions)
Reviewer: Wilford B. Wolf - - August 17, 2003
Subject: Anthropology, c. 1954
This film, aimed at middle school/junior high children, is a good overview of anthropological thought in the 1950s.

The film tries a little too hard to be an outside observer (a common conceit in anthropology before the 1970s) by using the motif of an observer from space. However, the basic information does still hold true, though it does hint at social Darwinism at times. Most notable changes in the anthropolgical thought since this film was made are the concept of the single path of development and the simple dicohetmy of "primitive" and "advanced" cultures, both of which have successfully challanged by anti-Orientialist and diaspora scholars, such as Edward Said.

The irony of this film is while its basic tenant is introducing the study of cultures in general, it in fact provides a good time capsule of American culture of the time. Women are allowed to work outside of the home, but are not allowed to have children out of wedlock. European (and by extension American) culture is the dominant (and best) force in the world. In both these cases, these subtexts promoted by this film are in themselves cultural artifacts and underscore the importance of preserving films like this for the future.
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